tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 19, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
news out of london where police say an unknown number of people were injured when the balcony or perhaps a ceiling at london's apollo theater collapsed. rescue crews are currently on the scene, as you can see there. and we will keep an eye on the story. now, before president obama heads off to hawaii for his holiday vacation tomorrow, he's got a budget deal to sign. and along with the board shorts, he may be packing other fun items like a new 300-page report recommending a reigning in of domestic data collection. after all, it is a long plain ride. and given a year of turmoil, the glitches and the gridlock galore, the getaway could give the president a chance to grab some new year's resolution ideas because he is going to need it. the health care website roll-out and leaks about? sa spying did bring the president's approval rating to lows this year and led many americans to question his leadership. just 50% now view the president as honest and trustworthy, down from a full three-quarters of americans saying the same thing
before his first inauguration. while they have boosted enrollment numbers, americans also remain skeptical of the president's signature legislation, the affordable care act. according to a "new york times" poll, 53% of the uninsured disapprove of the law, and only a third of those without coverage say it will help them personally. that may not actually be true, but we'll have to look at that over the long run. so the president is not simply resting on the ropes, though. today the white house sent out the chairman of the council of economic advisers to give a year-end review. >> to go back and review some of those numbers and just take you on a whirlwind tour of the economy, we have been 8 adding over two million jobs a year for the past several years. we've now just gone through the largest post war deficit reduction over a four-year period, and we've gone over it by a long shot. >> now take a breath. i know that was a lot of whirlwind to handle. behind the scenes, the president expanded his push to curtail
harsh penalties for drug offenses, today commuting offenses and calling for more action from congress. saying in a statement, quote, in the new year, lawmakers should act on the kinds of bipartisan sentencing reform measures already working their way through congress. that is a big criminal and racial justice issue. and it's one of many bipartisan reforms this president wants to see enacted in the new year. we're going to hear from republican house member marsha blackburn, and bernie sanders later in the hour. but first we're going to go right to our panel. with us from washington, ayesha moody mills and here in new york rick hertzberg of the new yorker. thank you both for being here. you have written about what it takes for a president to maintain trust. and you cited some of your experience in the carter administration. people love making comparisons. i actually want to talk later in the hour about how the president is doing a little better than some people realize. but what were you getting at with that comparison?
>> well, something that happens, especially in second terms, of course jimmy carter didn't get a second term. but a president runs up against the sludge of american governance. he has put out a vision, he has made promises. and then when it turns out that the way the machinery grind, the promises are fulfilled partially, a few completely, and many not at all. and that just -- that just rusts away the trust that should be there. and sometimes the president helps it along a little bit. obama certainly did with his exaggeration about who could expect to keep the health insurance that they have. >> yeah, i mean it's clear that that is haunting him as a political fact, wherever you come down on the issue. and ayesha, we've spoken about this before where i come down is if we were raiding that famous statement that the president made about people keeping their plans, i would rate it as mostly true in the sense that it was
true for most people, and yet in the way that it is simplified, it burned up trust to rick's point with a lot of people who weren't even affected by it. because we see in the polling people who aren't in the individual market, that is people who have health care through their employer also feeling less trust. >> yeah, you know, the trust issue really comes down to presidents not necessarily being able to predict everything that may happen. they try to foresee the best they can. but everything they think is going to happen isn't necessarily going to shake out the way they hoped it would. we're seeing that. we're seeing obama having to bite back some of the things he promised. we're also seeing the reality is that the president doesn't go it alone. it is not him alone that is governing. he's got a whole other branch of government to work with that has been doing what it can to make it a little more difficult for him to fulfill some of his promises. so i think when we look at the polling and we see americans being disappointed and a little bit disgruntled, you're seeing that they're frustrated with the
president, but also with congress and really not having any faith in the system of governing in general because everyone is supposed to be working together and no one really is. >> i think that's absolutely true there is a larger context here. this is not the boom clinton '90s where people were feeling pretty good and then assessing washington. people are feeling bad and people are hurting and for good reason. yet i want to dig into what you just said about how people feel about the health care numbers. if you look at the polling, you have nearly two-thirds of the uninsured as we mentioned in the lead saying this law will either hurt them or not affect them. i want to speak to this candidly. they have every right to their views of the president and whether or not to trust him. as for whether this law affects them, whether or not they think it does, it does, right, aisha? >> yeah, it does affect them. here is the problem we're having with the polling that we're see. one, there is the self-fulfilling proficiency we're seeing happen that every time the media reports that something is bad or something doesn't work, then the people believe that it's bad and that it doesn't work. so you see that kind of cycle
spinning out of control where in fact people don't know a whole lot. and they're taking this kind of crazy approach to what they do know saying oh, it must just be doom, doom, doom and gloom. the other piece of it is that this is so brand-new that people don't know what it's going to do. >> right. >> they don't know what to expect. >> right thinking is a learning experience for all of us in the sense that we haven't had this system before. i think it will be a much more fair and appropriate judgment to look at it two years out to then determine how people are feeling about obama care once they're using it. >> or if they're even calling it obama care in two years. >> true. >> which is always a big question. i want to go back to rick on the other point we mentioned, which is the president is taking more control through executive leadership on the nsa issue. whatever you think of edward snowden, there are things he revealed that are changing the way our security works potentially. and this panel has come out and basically said to the president, including richard clark and including jeff stone, a law
professor who is widely respected, including morel who was at the nsa, and it's basically saying in unison, we've got to step back. again, to your experience in the white house, how much does it matter when the president picks people and they tell him a message like that? >> well, it's a two-edged sword because the president deserves enormous credit for appointing a panel that is as independent-minded and conscientious as this panel has been. now the panel has come back and been very critical of the practices of the nsa. that reflects in a different way on the president. i think a lot of the stuff has come out as a result of the snowden revelations was news probably to the president. it was certainly news to a lot of people at high levels in this government. and in good faith, he appointed this panel, and it came through with a series of recommendations that have really surprised everybody by their independence. >> yeah, i've worked on this issue, aisha for well over eight
years. i was very surprised to see. this i think it goes back to where we started on trust and credibility. this is a president who to rick's point didn't just put in yes people. he put in people who would give a broader view, which is clearly what we need. and we were joking in the lead about whether he is going read this report as he travels. hi already met with these folks. and there a lot of depth in there and detail about, again, to echo rick, what the nsa is doing that forget the rest of us not knowing it, that the management doesn't know. >> yeah, you know. you actually bring up really good point i want to come back to, because it is -- we're reminded in this process that this is who the president has always been. and he has always attempted since day one to come in to be transparent, to bring in people who were going to have independent thought, even from him, to do the work of transforming our government into what it could be. and so i am legal really pleased to see that there are some -- there are actually tough pills to swallow that came out of this
report i think for the president. but that's a good thing, because it reminds us of who he is and how he set forth to try to be bipartisan, work across lines, and to solve problems without regard to who looks good at the end of the day. >> i think that's right, and it goes to another piece of the policy-making process, which is the congress has largely been mia here. i criticized the president and the congress on this issue. but what the president has done is convene the larger bipartisan conversation within his own executive panel that the congress has refused to provide on the nsa like on so many other issues. we will leave it there, aisha moody-mills and rik hertzberg. >> thank you. appreciate it. a little more on this breaking news at london's apollo theater. police responding to as we mentioned a possible ceiling or balcony collapse during an evening performance. witnesses there say some theater goers may be trapped. authorities are rereporting a possible, i repeat possible casualties. we are going to monitor the situation. and when we have confirmable information, we will share it with you. also, coming up next, we are
going to speak to a republican member of congress, marsha blackburn. she will join us from nashville for a look at the political landscape in 2014, the power struggle within the gop, and so much more. stay with us. hands for holding. feet, kicking. better things than the joint pain and swelling of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. if you're trying to manage your ra, now may be the time to ask about xeljanz. xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a small pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers have happened in patients taking xeljanz. don't start taking xeljanz if you have any kind of infection, unless ok with your doctor. tears in the stomach or intestines, low blood cell counts and higher liver tests and cholesterol levels have happened. your doctor should perform blood tests, including certain liver tests, before you start and while you are taking xeljanz.
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we in the house continually go to the floor and vote to repeal and to replace. delay, defund, repeal, replace. some people like to drive a ford, not a ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red solo cup, not a crystal stem. you're taking away their choice. you may see a partial shutdown for several days. but steve, people are probably going to realize they can live with a lot less government than what they thought they needed. >> our next guest is republican house member who has been front and center on health care and the shutdown and just about every other area this year where
republicans have visibly and sometimes stridently opposed president obama's agenda. joining us no is republican congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee. welcome. >> thank you. good to be with you. >> great. let's start with how you guys are doing. what would you give as a grade to this first session of congress? >> oh my goodness, i think the american people have spoken on that. they're tired of the dysfunction of washington. and what they want to see is some action on some issues. and all the polling that is out today i think tells a pretty good story, ari. their biggest fear is big government. and the encroachment of government on every area of their lives. so what they're wanting is action, not a lot of talk. they want us to rein in these federal agency, rein in the irs. they want obama care off the books. they want more control of their lives. and they want congress to stop talking about it and to take some action next year.
>> i hear you on action. so representative, what actions do you think apart from the health care repeal, which we know we did more than once in the house, yeah, sure. >> what other actions taken on your legislation or other republican priorities? >> yes. some of the things we have done at energy and commerce committee in our oversight has been dealing with the epa and the overreach that is there. there has been such a concern from the way the epa has gone about dealing with some of our small business manufacturers in this country. and we have done a tremendous amount of oversight there. working on the energy issue, pushing forward on that. you've had bipartisan support in the house. and by the way, we have a lot of bipartisan support on issues in the house. and it seems that they go to the senate and harry reid just chooses not to take them up. we want the senate to work a little bit more. >> sure. i think people want all of congress to work. >> absolutely. >> let's take a look at that
statement you just made. one of the things that has been pointed out i'm sure you're aware that john boehner does not hold a lot of votes that this congress has not only hasn't held a lot of votes and passed a lot of laws, even on republican priorities he doesn't seem to do that. you sponsored about 20 bills in according to the library of congress, and speaker boehner hasn't brought any of them to the floor even for your colleagues to vote on. does it bother you that the speaker doesn't seem to bring a lot of republican bills to the floor either? >> well, we would love to see some more of those brought forward. i'll give you two. one is across state line purchase of health insurance. and i hear on a bipartisan basis from people all over the country, they think that's an idea whose time has come. let people purchase what they want from wherever they want. another is the american health care reform act. we would love to see -- love to see some action on that. a bill that i introduced that has bipartisan support, we've done a hearing, we're looking forward to moving it through the house is the software act.
>> why don't you think the speaker will bring these republican bills to the floor? it is weird for those of us who follow congress. when i worked on the hill, there was a lot more voting going on. >> well, we would love to see him bring those forward, and i can assure you, we're pushing to get some of these brought forward. you take something like the software act. and we've got three democrats, three republicans that introduced that. and it deals with the mobile medical applications that are on your smartphones and ipads. and we think that that needs to move forward quickly. and we are certainly, diana degette from colorado and i are going to be working diligently on moving that forward. >> let me ask you on two more. we're going to be speaking to senator sanders from across the aisle. >> sure. >> he is sort of the middle of the aisle. a bipartisan vote, one that president bush last signed when it was renewed, do you think speaker bain shore bring the
voting rights act renewal to the floor regardless of how people want to vote, get a vote on that, and unemployment insurance as well? >> there are going to be so many issues that are going to come up. but i've got to tell you the number one issue that people are telling us they want us to deal with is the jobs, the economy, the growth of government, the fact that we have this tremendous debt. >> should he hold a vote on the two i mentioned? should he hold a vote? >> everywhere we go. >> should he hold a vote? >> he'll make a priority list. we're pushing. and our constituents are pushing us to say let's deal with jobs. let's deal with the economy. let's deal with the growth of the government. there are so many issues that are yet to come forward. and we want to see a very active house of representatives in 2014 and get a lot of these off the books. >> i don't think i got an answer to the last question. but maybe we'll do it next time. congresswoman, thank you very much for your time. >> sure.
absolutely. thank you. >> absolutely. we are continuing to follow the breaking news we were telling you about from london's apollo theatre. police responding to some sort of reported collapse that was occurring during an evening performance tonight. london time. witnesses say theatre goers may be practiced there, and authorities are reporting possible casualties. we're also seeing our first images there as you can see from inside the theater. simon osborne, a feature writer from the independent has tweeted that picture there along with a message, quote, lobby filled with injuries. from there a reporter on the scene. we were going to keep an eye on this and bring you information as it's confirmed. and coming up, we're going to move towards the other side of the aisle, as i mentioned, with independent senator bernie sanders of vermont. but first, are you sure it's the james dean democrats who are tearing us apart? >> the democrats, you know, many of whom pride themselves on a james dean rebel without a cause image will sheepishly just fall in line and do whatever the majority leader says.
that's part of why the senate is so broken. >> you're tearing me apart! >> what? >> you, you say one thing, he said another, and everybody changes back again. ♪ post code envy, but every song is gold teeth, gray goose, tripping in the bathroom, trashing the hotel room, we don't care, we're driving cadillacs ♪ ♪ 10 straight days raining ♪ 9 hailstorms pounding ♪ 5 mysteriously heavy holiday fruitcakes ♪ ♪ 4 actual tree houses ♪ 3 blackouts ♪ 2 weird to mention ♪ and a roaming horde of carolers ♪ ♪ with my exact same route [ female announcer ] no one delivers the holidays like the u.s. postal service. priority mail flat rate is more reliable than ever. and with improved tracking up to 11 scans you can even watch us get it there. and look for our limited edition holiday stamps.
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it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card. this is the quicksilver card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, every single day. so ask yourself, what's in your wallet? you know it, i know it, and yeah, they know it. this congress is ineffective, unhappy and unproductive. it's possibly the worst congress ever. it has a to-do list that rarely changes because it rarely does anything. the senate passed immigration proposal this year, for example, but speaker boehner refused to bring to it the floor. house republicans revolted over the farm bill because it cut $2 billion in food assistance for poor americans, and that wasn't enough. the gop caucus then said it preferred nothing to something. and then there are the priorities that the leadership of both parties have refused to
bring to the floor, ending offshore tax shelters for corporations, eliminating the loophole for wall street money managers or raising a minimum wage that has been falling in real dollars. and that last one isn't even politically hard. in fact, the last time the senate hiked the minimum wage it passed with count 'em up, 94 votes and was signed by president bush. well, joining us now to talk about this year's unfinished business is senator bernie sanders, and independent from vermont. welcome. >> thank you. >> let's start with the minimum wage. take a listen to your democratic leaders today. >> there is no greater challenge this country has than income inequality. >> republicans have worked with us to raise the minimum wage before. they need to do it again. >> and that means when we come back here, to make raising the minimum wage in america a high priority in the united states senate. and i hope in the house of representatives as well. >> sounds pretty good, but senator, why doesn't harry reid just put this on the floor and
keep the senate open until he can break open a filibuster and get a vote here? >> well, i think he is going to do that. i think he is going to bring that up on to the floor as soon as we return. and i think it's exactly the right thing to do. look, the middle class of this country is disappearing. we have more people living in poverty than any time in the history of the united states of america. millions of people are working for longer hours for lower wages. we have got to raise the minimum wage, which today is a starvation wage of $7.25 to at least $10.10 an hour. >> and as you and other have pointed out, it's also dropping in real dollars. it's catching it back up to where it once was in terms of the actual real economy. now, you also serve on the budget committee. and i want to read from your statement on the deal that we just reached. it attacked republicans for hypocrisy on some of these savings, noting, quote, my republican colleagues continue to protect corporate loopholes which are costing us $100 billion every single year.
what are you and the senate leadership looking to do about that? >> well, we've got legislation in that i hope that gets to the floor, which deals with the absurd reality that when we have a $17 trillion national debt, one out of four corporations in this country pays zero in federal taxes. >> wow. >> because so many of them are stashing their money in the cayman islands, bermuda, and other tax havens. so the idea that many of my republican colleagues say gee we have to balance the budget. let's cut social security, medicare, medicaid, education, nutrition, oh, but by the way, it is okay that one out of four major corporations pays nothing in federal taxes. that is totally absurd. that's not what the american people want to see. >> yeah, i think that sounds reasonable. i don't mind them flying to the caymans on a private jet and spending money there. they shouldn't be able to leave all their money there and avoid the taxes that most people pay. that seems like common sense. i also want to get to something you may have heard us mention in the broadcast, which is voting rights. some people may already know this. long before you were even in
politics as a student, i know that you traveled to the march on washington in 1963 to hear martin luther king speak. and after this year's supreme court decision, which of course limited a part of the voting rights act, a lot of senators, a lot of your colleagues said look, they wanted to pass a bill to renew the law. and i got to tell you, i haven't seen a lot of action from the democrats here. why aren't your senate democratic colleagues bringing that issue to the floor? >> well, that is a good question. should it be brought up. and i hope that it will be brought up. whether it could ever get past the right wing extremists who control the house, have i my doubts. but right now -- >> but that shouldn't be. >> you're right. >> have you talked to harry reid or dick durbin or schumer about this? that shouldn't hold up. >> you're absolutely right. it is an issue we should deal with. our republican friends are too cowardly in many respects to have fair elections. and the only way they're going to win as they understand it is to deny lower income people, people of color, older people from the right to vote by making it harder and harder for those
people to participate in the democratic process. you're absolutely right. this is an issue. we need to get on to the floor, and we need to pass it. >> and i know it's been one that has been important to you for a long time. i appreciate your straight answer on it. we have a republican house member on earlier who wouldn't say whether boehner should supply the vote. it's something we're going to stay on top of. senator bernie sanders of vermont, thank you for your time today. >> thank you. and stay with us. the day's most fascinating top lines are coming up. >> does your husband want you to run? >> he is very respectful. he knows that -- >> he does want you to run? >> well, he wants me to do what i think is right. ♪
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apollo theatre. it is not immediately clear if it was the roof, ceiling, or balcony that collapsed. officials say this occurred about 40 minutes into a performance there with about 700 people in that theater. it is believed that between 20 and 40 people may have been injured. nbc's jim maceda joins us on the phone in london. jim, what is the latest? >> reporte >> hi, ari. the latest is i'm standing from my perspective about 90 or 100 yards from the apollo theatre outside. it's relatively calm, or calmer than it was an hour ago when this took place in the sense there are long lines of fire trucks and ambulances outside, waiting for a triage to take place of injured, which is taking place in the gilgood theater which we cannot get to because the whole area has been cordoned off. with committee have spoken to some eyewitnesses there is one woman who really sums up i think
the emotion inside that theater. an hour ago when she was sitting there watching an award winning play with a group of friends of hers, they're all from the camden school for girls nearby here, she said that they suddenly heard a cracking sound getting louder and more frequent from the ceiling. they were sitting in the top balcony. there are three such balconies in the theater. cracking from the ceiling, and then bits of plastic started falling, of plaster. and she says within 30 seconds, they realized what was happening when the massive pieces of plaster collapsed from the ceiling on to the stalls. so we're talking a significant distance since there were three balconies. these people then, she and her friends screamed, started yelling, get up, get up, get out. she believes that it took three to four minutes to make the trip from the top balcony to an exit
door outside. she said the dust was unbelievable. she could not even see the person in front of her. when she got outside, people were screaming for their loved ones, calling people by their first names for their friends. meanwhile, the theater completely filled with dust that again, it took minutes for her to realize that she had collected everyone, where they were still all together, amazingly in this one pack. >> wow. >> and even standing outside as much of the press has been now for the past 20 or 30 minutes. >> wow, jim. that sounds -- jim, that sounds like a harrowing scene. we want you to be safe, and thank you for that update. we will keep an eye on the story and monitor this for developments as we get them. we'll bring them to you. we're going listen to an eyewitness as we go to break who was in the theater describing the scene in her own words. >> i saw two or three people get
up in the front row of the balcony bit. and then quite quickly the next row and the next row. and then we heard a creek, and then the ceiling, which is presumably plaster, the whole thing collapsed. and instantly you couldn't see anything. and straight away, the ushers in the aisles straight away opened the doors. don't run, exit this way. it wasn't mad. it wasn't completely dark, lights up and things. everyone -- a lot of people got out, thankfully. but people down in the stalls, we could hear a lot of what was going on and we couldn't really see. is it africa? the middle east? canada? or the u.s.? the answer is... the u.s. ♪ most of america's energy comes from right here at home. take the energy quiz. energy lives here.
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appears we might be at the dawn of another. >> what do you think of that selection? >> who cares what barbara walters thinks. she has been around too long. >> i'm not attacking hillary clinton. she is impressive in a lot of ways. but her husband is fascinating. she is not. >> the former secretary of state was asked the question on everybody's mind. >> okay, here it comes. >> the question on everyone's mind. >> i have to push for the answer about whether or not you might run for president. >> i haven't made up my mind. i really have not. i will look carefully at what i think i can do and make that decision some time next year. >> she is going to put off procrastinating that reveal? >> i don't think we should be looking at the next election. >> the talk has begun, but it is way too premature. >> i think we should be looking at the work that we have today. >> let's get to work. >> the people who actually choose the nominee in the early primary states are way to the left of hillary clinton. >> our unemployment rate is still too high. we have people getting kicked off food stamps who are in special economic strait. >> you have to run.
>> this is the way i talked to you 40 years ago, barbara. this is what gets me up in the morning. >> if she is challenged from the left by a sort of occupy wall street populist democrat, i think that person could knock her off. >> of course i want to see a woman in the white house. >> how about elizabeth warren? because i'm really excited by her circumstances there an elizabeth warren wing of the democratic party? are you its leader? >> i have to go with elizabeth warren. i think she is ocool. >> look, this isn't about me. >> i would like you to note have i not asked you about your hair. >> compete on the skills for the job. that's all this is about. >> let's take it to our panel. msnbc contributor jimy williams. welcome to you both. karen, there was also some talk in this interview about some women leaders around the world. take a listen. >> my friend michelle bachelet was just re-elected. angela merkel is probably the most important leader in europe, if not beyond. >> interesting. >> it matters. >> karen, you know you get a lot
farther in american politics talking about america leading and american exceptionalism even. but walk us how much it matters in there is an international context for women as head of state. >> well, she is -- her big project now, the big initiative that she is putting forward in the chelsea and hillary clinton foundation is the international women's empowerment initiative. should she decide to run and everyone assumes she is leaning that way, it would give her a chance to sort of emphasize the history-making nature of that her election would be. and also to build on the things that people really admired about her tenure as secretary of state. i think this is a sort of methodical step by step thing. and so it is certainly makes a lot of sense to me that she would talk about women's empowerment around the world. >> yeah, i think that's a really interesting way to look at it.
and jimy, that goes to the dance here which it is too early to figure out too much about a race in 2016. we could do 2022. yet hillary clinton's transition and her policy record and what she chooses to emphasis from karen's point about both the women's issues as empowerment around the world and what she has done as a diplomat to the voting rights act, which has been a bit of a theme for us today. but which in her mind was the first domestic policy address she made at the aba. untangle some of that for us. >> so, first of all, it would be very bad for our business if in fact we were not talking about the 2016 election. let's keep doing that so that everyone is happy. secondly, but more importantly and seriously, what she did at the aba out in california was a very important, you're right, marker per se. and she also indicated she'll be speaking in philadelphia soon on other issues. so what she is doing is methodically laying out her policy positions in case, just in case that she does run. and she should do that.
now, the problem is we have a sitting president. and he is not going anywhere. we also have a congress that is recalcitrant, doesn't want to work with that president. so after the midterms, if she does in fact continue to ramp up, continue to do the policy statements and the speeches, then in fact she will be pretty well positioned in my opinion to be sort of a spokesperson, if you will. the president will not be done. he will still be the president of the united states. but she be the, quote, heir-apparent. and if that's the case, she will be out there talking about the voting rights act. she will be traveling to southern states whereby the way our department of justice is suing some of those states. and she should be doing those kinds of things because if she is going to run for president, she can't just all of the sudden decide she is going to do it. by the way, last time she didn't do that. she ran methodically for it. >> and jimy is hitting on something, karen, that boxes her in a way that every time she runs, she can't go too far outside of the last democratic president. >> well, that's right. but at some point she is going to have to sort of spell out
what exactly a hillary clinton philosophy approach to governance is. is it a continuation of the clinton era, the bill clinton era? is it a continuation of the barack obama era? and to what degree would her set of issues, her set of policy positions reflect kind of the economic reality of america in this decade where, again, there are issues like income inequality that i think people are talking about in a completely different way than they were in 2008, and certainly a different way than they were in the 1990s. >> yeah. and that's i think the most important part of this for people around the country. you can look at other candidacies in rfk or mcgovern where whatever happened to their political future, their role as a would-be potential aspire rant or challenger would pro tech their policies as they were being imp 789ed in the time. karen tumulty and jimy williams, thank you for talking to us.
coming up, it's the hustle and cash flow that drives d.c. we have lawrence lessic here at the set to discuss. [ female announcer ] from your first breath, to your first roll, pampers swaddlers was there. and now swaddlers are available through size 5, for many more firsts to come. ♪ pampers. see who does good work and compare costs. it doesn't usually work that way with health care. but with unitedhealthcare, i get information on quality rated doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me, and my guys, make better decisions. i don't like guesses with my business, and definitely not with our health. innovations that work for you. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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the legend dear rap ensemble wu tang clan has one rule that applies to politics in a post world. >> dollar dollar bill, y'all. >> that is a lesson the talented east coast lyricists and politicians know too all. the money rules everything around us. that has always been the case even before the supreme court ruled money equals speech in the '70s or the first amendment bars limits on corporate spending in 2010. old big schools like big daddy jesse have long declared money is the mother's milk of politics. well, what is different today is the breakdown of the federal
campaign finance regulations. and they march towards a type of corporate personhood that could drown out most individual citizens' voices. joining us at the table is a litigator, scholar and activist leading one of the most ambitious and some say radical campaigns to change how our democracy works. lawrence lessig, the center for ethics. author of several books, including "republic lost" and lester land, the corruption of congress. it's an honor to have you here at the table. >> it's great to be here. >> you talk about how congress is more corrupted by donations than many people even realize. and yet more fixable than the media would have us believe. what do you mean? >> right. i don't think they're corrupted by donations. i think they're corrupted by the process of raising money. when you have members of congress spending between 30 and 70% of their time raising money from the tiniest fraction of 1%, basically, 150,000 americans are
the funders of these campaigns. what that can't help but do is to give them a sixth sense, a constant awareness about how what they do will affect their ability to raise money. and that is the corrupting influence. now that problem is eminently solvable. we don't have to amend the constitution to fix that problem. a single statute that would change the way we fund elections, giving small dollar funded elections, in the way for example john saar bans grassroots democracy would, would change their focus. because they would no longer be worried about the 0.05% of america who fund their campaigns right now. they would be focused much more on the rest of us. >> and one of the weird part from people who hear you describe that, it doesn't sound like something impossible. it sounds similar to something that the president did, although he did rely on both the 1%, big donations and bundlers. but he also got record breaking amounts of small amounts. take a listen to him talk about this issue in october. >> nobody who operates in politics has perfectly clean
hands on this issue. but what is also true is that all of us should bind ourselves to some rules that say the people who vote for us should be more important than somebody who is spending a million dollars, ten million, or $100 million to help us get elected. >> how close is he to the solutions you're talking about? >> well, he is not yet willing to talk what is really the only solution, which is to change the way we fund elections by giving a kind of grassroots incent i for people to do funding from the bottom up. when he ran for president, of course, you're right. he raised an extraordinary amount of money from small contributions. but at the level of congress, you're just never going to be able to fund those elections through small contributions alone. unless we have a system to make it easier to publicly fund those elections. i don't mean public funding in the traditional top down you write a check for a million dollars to your campaign. but i mean giving people, for example, vouchers or giving them
matching funds to make it easy for candidates to raise money in small contributions. and thereby change the dynamic of what they're focused on. that is the only way to change this. and what we need are politicians who are willing to talk about it openly. >> and if you get to that point and something your focus is on, you don't supplant the role of money or competition, which isn't going away in politics. but you create a way to channel it. lawrence lessig, thank you for your time today. really enjoyed having you. >> thank you for having me. >> all right. a final update from london about in that theater collapse that we have been following. authorities say at least five people are seriously injured. again, this happened at london's apollo theatre about 40 minutes into an evening performance. about 700 people in the theater for the performance. we do not believe there are fatalities at this point. we'll continue to cover these events on msnbc. stay with us. ♪ if i was a flower growing wild and free ♪ ♪ all i'd want is you to be my sweet honeybee ♪ ♪ and if was a tree growing tall and green ♪ ♪ all i'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves ♪
i doing? >> if washington asked that question today, i think you know the reviews would be terrible. and that might sound like bad news for president obama, but it's not. let me explain. you've heard pundits say the president has hit historic lows. >> only nixon in modern presidencies have had numbers this low the first year of his second term. >> the president is having one of the worst first years of his second term in modern american history. >> and it is certainly true the president's approval has fallen a bit. today he is at 42%. and that's a drop from last year when he was void by victoria's campaign. obama's approval today also matches his predecessor at the same point in his term. and bush did later fall into his 30s during his sixth year. and the public was generally less furious with washington at that time. and that brings us to one limit of these comparisons. look, pundits love to contrast different presidents, but they rarely control for the different eras they lived in.
and sommer ras come with a built-in political cushion. this is not one of those times. distrust of washington has never been higher, and yesterday gallup found that a record-breaking number of americans now say big government is the largest threat to the country, far more than those saying big business. people are more scared, more disgusted and more fed up with washington than usual. while many see the president as part of that problem, the striking thing here is in this environment a lot of people distinguish president obama's performance from the rest of the government. here is president obama's approval versus congress. now look at that. he is not 50% more pop already or twice as popular. obama's approval is more than three times that of congress. that's a tremendous political gap. now, you might think wait, aren't presidents always that much more popular than congress? no. here is obama's massive edge
compared to the past two presidents at this time. bush 14 points higher than congress. clinton was 17 points up and he had a higher raw approval rating at the time than obama. but clinton rode that cushion with economy. obama's approval, 30 points higher than this congress. and this one is going to rankle republicans, because i'm not done. obama's edge is even larger than one of the most popular second termers in modern history, the gipper. you can see it right there. though gallup doesn't have the data exactly for this point in the term. reagan's numbers from a few months later don't go near obama's edge over congress. even if the pundits ignore the comments, he is running circles around this congress. now, none of that means democrats will win the next election. polling or the midterms is roughly now, and it's been all over the place recently. and let me be clear. none of that means obama is going to win all his arguments with congress either. this rising concern over the big
government? well, it partly reflects the tea party's successful messaging. and if you put the overall approval aside, in fact, obama only has a slight edge over republicans on some key policy goals like who the public trusts more to govern for the middle class, or who they trust to implement the aca. if president obama does get around to asking how am i doing, though, this holiday, you can tell him with what the numbers know, and a lot of pundits don't. mr. president, you're doing a lot better than everybody else in washington. even if republicans set the bar pretty low. that does it for me. thank you for watching. and right now "the ed show" starts with ed schultz.
♪ good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" live from new york. let's get to work. ♪ >> we want to invite you to have lunch with us every day for the rest of the week. >> there is a myth that there is such things as a free lunch. >> where is your lunch? >> to instill in them there is in fact no such thing as a free lunch. >> self-respect permeates every aspect of your lives. >> i'll get that cleaned up lickety-split. >> you get rid of the unionized janitors and pay local students to take care of the school. >> please, sir, i want some more. >> there is in fact no such thing as a free lunch. >> what? >> what? >> what? >> don't simply feed fish.